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Amberjack’s Aggressive

First Patrol


During September and October 1942, the USS Amberjack (SS-219) was one of the busiest submarines in the South Pacific area. On September 19 two of her torpedoes hit the 3,130-ton Shirogane Maru in its starboard boiler and engine rooms. The submarine left the area with the converted transport vessel’s stern under water and its bow pointing upward. The wreck was towed to Buin harbor by the destroyer Amagiri. It grounded there on September 20 and was abandoned. Three of the transport’s crew members were killed in the attack, which occurred at 06°-25′ S, 156°-20′ E. On October 7, two out of four torpedoes fired by Amberjack hit the 2,103-ton converted supply ship Senkai Maru, at 01°-10′ N, 153°-31′ E. The merchant had been in a gun battle with the Amberjack until the maru’s ammo ran out and he was hit by the second torpedo. Three of the supply ship’s crew members were killed. Lifeboats carrying the supply ship’s survivors were seen as the submarine headed for Kavieng, New Ireland. On October 10, Amberjack was stalking enemy shipping off the busy enemy harbor at Kavieng. She discovered two enemy ships at anchor in the harbor and sent four torpedoes on a 3,500-yard run down the channel aimed at the 19,262-ton converted cargo ship Tonan Maru #2. Two of the torpedoes hit the vessel, causing her stern to rest on the bottom of the harbor; the ship was towed to Yokohama by the converted passenger-cargo ship Suwa Maru on January 4, 1943, for repairs. One of the torpedoes hit and damaged the 4,861-ton cargo ship Tenryu Maru, which was moored next to the Tonan Maru #2. On October 15-16, Amberjack conducted reconnaissance of Ocean Island. On October 19, she arrived at Espiritu Santo for repairs to her ballast tanks. There she embarked troops and cargo for transport to Guadalcanal. She was also tasked with transporting aviation gasoline and bombs. While en route to the Solomons, her destination was changed to Tulagi, where she arrived on October 25. On October 30, she ended her first patrol at Brisbane.

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